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Although Airbnb has been around for a few years, many people are still hesitant to try it due to concerns with safety, cleanliness, and the overall experience of living in someone else’s home. However, most of these concerns are unfounded. For example, a portion of your rental fee goes directly to cleaning, so cleanliness is typically not an issue with these properties. Also, Airbnb provides ratings for each of its postings, so you will be able to see what others who stayed at the property had to say about it and have the opportunity to make an educated opinion based on your evaluation of the other ratings. To help you better understand the benefits of booking your accommodation through Airbnb, I have compiled a list of 5 reasons why you should try Airbnb (plus a coupon code for you to get $40 off your first stay).
One of the more practical reasons why you should try Airbnb is that it tends to be less expensive than hotels. For solo budget travelers, I typically recommend staying in hostels if you are traveling alone; however, for two or more people traveling together, I always recommend booking an Airbnb. The reason I recommend Airbnb to couples or groups of travelers over solo travelers is because Airbnb properties are typically listed by room or by apartment rather than by bed. Most rooms have either a queen/king bed or two twin/full beds, so you are much better off sharing the room with another person and splitting the cost of the room rather than paying for the entire room on your own. For example, when Hope and I traveled to Norway last summer, we found an Airbnb in Odda, near Trolltunga, that cost $70 USD per night for a room with two beds. Had I been traveling alone, I still would’ve had to book both beds in the room, but since there were two of us, the cost came down to $35 USD per person per night. At that price point, there was really no advantage for us to book a dorm room in a hostel, which would cost around the same amount and may not have had the same amenities that our Airbnb had.
If you’re looking for an authentic travel experience and prefer to live like a local rather than like a tourist in a new city, then you will appreciate the authenticity that Airbnbs offer. Airbnb properties are typically apartments occupied by locals, surrounded by locals, and in residential areas where a lot of locals live. This is a stark contrast to walking into a hotel surrounded by other visitors and pampered with amenities that would not typically be afforded to you if you were living in the city, such as an in building fitness room, spa, 24 hour front desk staff, etc. If you exclusively seek out luxury travel and like to be pampered on your travels, then you will probably have a better experience at a luxury hotel. But if you’re looking for an authentic travel experience, you are much more likely to find that at an Airbnb.
As mentioned above, Airbnbs are typically located in an apartment complex or house surrounded by other residences away from the popular tourist areas. This means you are more likely to find local bars, restaurants, cafes, and other hidden neighborhood gems near your accommodation that you are not likely to find if you were staying at a hotel in a touristy area of town. If you are more interested in finding off-the-beaten-path gems in a new city rather than focusing solely on TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Things to Do or Michelin rated restaurants (not that there is anything wrong with either), then you will enjoy staying at an Airbnb property surrounded by less popular, local gems.
In terms of traveling with larger groups, there is nothing more practical than booking an Airbnb. Most hotel rooms only fit up to four people, so if you have five or more people and all want to stay in the same accommodation, your best bet will be to rent out an apartment or house on Airbnb. For example, when I was in Barcelona a few years ago with three of my friends, the four of us booked an entire apartment with three bedrooms and two bathrooms for only $35 USD per night per person. We would not have been able to find a hotel room that accommodated all four of us comfortably, and certainly not at that price point.
For solo or couple travelers, you have the option of renting out an entire room and socializing with the other guests in the apartment, or renting out the entire apartment for yourself if you’re not in the mood to socialize. For me, this is the best of both worlds. While hotels offer the luxury and quiet I crave after extended periods of travel, and hostels offer the social aspects of travel that I love so much, Airbnbs offer a mix of the two – quiet, private rooms with the option to socialize if there are other guests staying in the apartment as well. While this is similar to a private room in a hostel, I have found that rooms through Airbnb tend to be cheaper than private rooms at hostels.
Many Airbnb hosts serve as personal tour guides for their guests by providing tips for things to do, see, eat, and drink. While not all hosts are available personally during your stay, some are extremely gracious with their time and will go above and beyond making your stay comfortable. Airbnb hosts will typically state in their description of the property whether they will be available to meet you in person, and you can also gather this information from the reviews written about the property and about the owner.
Perhaps the most gracious Airbnb host we’ve had was Kristian from the Faroe Islands. He went above and beyond promising a place to stay by driving out to the restaurant we were having dinner at to pick us up and show us the way to his apartment. We then mentioned a hike we were interested in doing the next morning that was a bit off the beaten path and had no real directions on Google Maps, and Kristian offered to take us there the next morning. We also spent a lot of time chatting with him and were able to learn about the history and customs of the Faroe Islands and the Faroese people, which we knew nothing about before our visit. If that’s not reason enough to try Airbnb, then I don’t know what is. And although hosts are usually not quite as generous as Kristian, most are more than willing to help you with directions, restaurant advice, etc. and are readily available at your request.
Overall, I would recommend Airbnb to couples and larger groups or those looking for a more authentic experience in a new city. Five star luxury travelers or those looking solely to be pampered on their vacation and are not interested in discovering local gems or living like a local may not have the most positive experience with Airbnb. My best advice before booking an Airbnb is to read the reviews. A property with 100 positive reviews and 10 negative reviews is a much safer bet than a property with two positive reviews and no negative reviews. I would recommend against staying in a property with zero reviews, unless you’re a real daredevil, because you have no idea what to expect, and the host is likely a new host who is not as familiar with dealing with guests.
Finally, as promised above, here is a link for you to receive $40 USD off your first Airbnb booking.
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